PM Road Trip - Constant Contact

Constant Contact


PM Road Trip Journal

July 6 -  Today's trip took us to Kolob Canyon in Zion National Park.  The path we chose was 5 miles round-trip, so we knew we would have to turn back before we finished it to preserve the smaller girls' legs and spirits.  When our 14 year old was ready to march ahead, I called out to him to not go too far since we would be turning back.  I watched him disappear behind a sign that warned us we were entering the Zion wilderness.

Kolob Canyon

The smaller girls turned back before the end of mile 1, so my most intrepid daughter and I took off to catch the wayward son.  He returned after reaching the trail end, bewildered why we were worried.  "I said I was going to the end," he asserted.  "I told you we were turning back," I countered.  We gasped for breath and ran out of water on the return trip, which always seems twice as long, but arrived unharmed.  My wife was happy the mountain lions had not eaten our son for lunch.

I know all of us have had times on our projects when we felt absolutely sure we had communicated deliverables and schedules, only to find our customers were completely oblivious.  My miscommunication with my son reminds me of those situations and how important it is we maintain continual contact with our stakeholders.  Some of the most effective project communication plans have been decentralized so that more than just the PM feels responsible for spreading the word.  I've had the good fortune to have a couple of projects that actually had a communications specialist or coordinator on the project.  Even in the absence of formalized communication processes, you can still use an informal method for communication through informal communication agents who know they have to make sure their specific stakeholder group is in the know.

We decided on a similar solution for the family on the rest of our trip; in essence a buddy system.  Everyone must be with a buddy and talk through a plan for length of time and plan for contact points.  Granted, I have more of an authority position as a father than I do as a PM, but I think I can be a better project communicator by allowing others to participate more in the creation and dissemination of information.